I want this on the record again because I know I've said it before. Being an MLS general manager is not easy, and the New England Revolution have been one of the best drafting teams in recent history. They've gotten a lot of good players early in the draft that are still with the team and even last year turned their entire draft class into three solid MLS players via trade.
Mike Burns and Brian Bilello deserve a lot of credit for what they do on draft day, and I did my best to channel their skills and make a few good mock draft picks with the rest of SB Nation's MLS blogs. Here's how we did:
1. Chicago Fire - Josh Yaro
2. Colorado Rapids - Jack Harrison
3. Philadelphia Union - Brandon Vincent
4. NYCFC - Jonathan Campbell
5. Real Salt Lake - Julian Buescher
6. Philadelphia Union - Omar Holness
7. Orlando City - Richie Laryea
8. San Jose Earthquakes - Jordan McCrary
9. Toronto FC - Keegan Rosenberry
First Round, Pick #10 - Kyle Fisher, Centerback, Clemson (6'0" / 176 lbs. / Age: 21)
The Strategy: Basically, the Revolution's greatest need for the first round of the draft is defense. Now, it's a bit of a toss up as to what the Revs need more, a true starting right back or depth at center back. For the moment, London Woodberry and Darrius Barnes are the options for both right back and third center back, so once the big defenders Joshua Yaro, Brandon Vincent and Jonathan Campbell were off the board, it was taking the best defender in the second group mid-round.
The Pick: With the 8th pick in our mock draft Jordan McCrary of North Carolina, Keegan Rosenberry of Georgetown and Fisher were all on the board. So I knew I would be taking one of those three players, and with McCrary being selected by Center Line Soccer (San Jose) at #8 and Rosenberry off to Toronto (Waking The Red) at #9, the pick was Fisher.
What It Means For The Revs: Well, they're getting a centerback who helped Clemson get all the way to the College Cup final this year only to lose to some guy named Jordan Morris and Stanford. He's the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann trophy and First Team All-American last season as well. Fisher himself described his play in a profile on MLSSoccer.com:
"I'm a center back who likes to play soccer and likes to play out of the back, I'm very good in the air and, more than anything, I'm just a competitor. Every time I step out there, I'll be competing, and I like to say that I'm well-rounded, too. I'm one of those guys who tries to do the simple things well and win my battles and compete, but I love balls in the air, for sure."
Fisher would easily fit into the Revs depth chart at centerback, whether he's third or fourth on that list really depends on where Darrius Barnes is playing coming of his injury last year. Fisher will likely get a year or two behind Jose Goncalves but eventually could be fine starting centerback. It could be unwise to pair him with Andrew Farrell in the middle, as neither players are taller than 6-foot, but Fisher's aerial skills could make a partnership with the smaller, athletic Farrell work as well.
11. Sporting KC - Tony Alfaro
12. LA Galaxy - Michael Salazar
13. D.C. United - Fabian Herbers
14. Montreal Impact - Zach Carroll
15. Seattle Sounders - James Moberg
16. Vancouver Whitecaps - Ben Polk
17. FC Dallas - Andrew Tarbell
18. New York Red Bulls - Cole Seiler
19. Columbus Crew SC - Dennis Castillo
20. Portland Timbers - Michael Gamble
21 (1). Columbus Crew SC - Timo Pitter
22 (2). Colorado Rapids - Vincent Keller
23 (3). Philadelphia Union - Liam Doyle
24 (4). Montreal Impact - Hadji Berry
25 (5). Real Salt Lake - Eric DeJulio
26 (6). Houston Dynamo - Josh Turnley
27 (7). Seattle Sounders - Todd Wharton
28 (8). San Jose Earthquakes - Chase Minter
29 (9). Vancouver Whitecaps - Tim Kubel
Second Round, 10th Pick, #30 Overall - Patrick Hodan, Midfielder, Notre Dame (5'9" / 155 lbs / Age: 22)
The Strategy: You can have a plan for the 10th pick, as far as looking for a specific person or player, but I am no expert at this. In the second round, I was looking for value rather than a specific position. It wouldn't shock me to see the Revs pick another defender here, it really depends on how the draft falls into place as it enters the middle of the 2nd round.
The Pick: As the second round began, I started to see players fly of the board and really had to go digging for a few of them on the MLS Big Board lists. As I was checking off names of 1st rounders, I noticed one name still unchecked, Patrick Hodan. And much to the dismay of those picking just after me, I accepted my fortune of value and didn't look back.
What It Means For The Revs: Well, they're getting a very technically sound player by the looks of it. Many list him as an attacking midfielder but I think Hodan is likely to be used more as a Kelyn Rowe type, meaning he can play just as well in the middle as he can out wide. Is Hodan as good as Rowe? Probably not, but that's the comparison as far as stature and skill set and I think it's appropriate.
Also, like Steve Neumann, I think it might take a couple of years for Hodan to cultivate a true position or role with the Revs. Neumann was a utility player of the bench his rookie season and led the league in substitute appearances but it's more likely Hodan will have to go on loan to Rochester to find significant minutes in 2016. But that wouldn't be the end of the world for Patrick, since at worst he's learning from Lee Nguyen, Rowe and Scott Caldwell among others at the MLS level.
31 (11). Columbus Crew SC - Duncan Backus
32 (12). Orlando City - Tsubasa Endoh
33 (13). Chicago Fire - Ivan Magalhaes
34 (14). Montreal Impact - Eric Verso
35 (15). Seattle Sounders - Chris Hellman
36 (16). Vancouver Whitecaps - Max Lachoweki
37 (17). FC Dallas - Zach Mathers
38 (18). New York Red Bulls - Thomas Libiih
39 (19). Montreal Impact - Emmanuel Appiah
40 (20). Portland Timbers - Callum Irving
41 (21). Columbus Crew SC - Elias Gomez
That 41st pick for the Crew is actually a draft pick they acquired from Chivas USA a few years ago, and it will be the last official memory of the now defunct Zombie Goats.